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Potpourri Article: Old Days of the YWCA in Wheeling

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▶ YWCA History: Newspaper Article

-from "Potpourri" by Blanche Steenrod, Wheeling News Register, April 3 1938, Part III, Page 12 © Ogden Newspapers, reproduced with permission.


- by Blanche Steenrod

The stream of humanity which threads its way from every section of Greater Wheeling to the towering and marble pillared halls of our Young Women's Christian association go with grateful hearts for such a center.

The beautiful influence which radiates from its sheltering protection is like the life giving perfumes from old gardens.

Symbolic, it is a "guardian angel; ever watchful and ever protecting in its interest."

Not alone is Wheeling possessed with such a beneficent blessing but the organization of the Y.W.C.A. extends throughout the entire world; the first associations having been organized more than fifty years ago.


Emanating from potpourri of memory we see this splendid organization in its early beginning in Wheeling. Many years ago some good women harkened to the benefits of the organization and declared that a Young Women's Christian association was needed.

A day was set for an organization meeting and plans were made to procure an organizer. Accordingly Miss Coale of New York City, arrived and the organization meeting was held April 9, 1906.

Mrs. John B. Garden, who has always been foremost in promoting benefits for her native state nad city was chosen temporary chairman of that epoch marking gathering, and in June of the same year the officers were elected and the first board of directors.

Mrs. Robert J. Reed, who has also looked well to the interests of her city, was elected to reign as organizing president. Mrs. Reed was ably assisted in her arduous task with a group of influential women and the records of that day give the following list:


Mrs. E. A. Hildreth Miss Emily Shephard
Mrs. A. T. Young Mrs. Cecil Robinson
Mrs. William T. Nicoll Mrs. Fred Faris
Mrs. Harry Bond Miss Lena Myers
Miss Sallie McColloch Mrs. Alvin White
Miss Anneta Grache Mrs. William Irwin
Mrs. John B. Garden Mrs. W. J. Cowden
Mrs. J. H. Little Mrs. S. W. Moore
Mrs. Bertha Caldwell Mrs. Reed Baird
Miss Agnes Wilson Mrs. A. J. Clarke
Mrs. R. J. Reed Mrs. Henry Jones
Mrs. George Ebeling Mrs. G. W. Talson
Mrs. W. H. Higgins Miss Hettie List
Mrs. George Woods Miss Alice Brady


These executive officers decided to rent the Dr. Hildrethproperty on Chapline street where the first Y.W.C.A. home was opened. This residence finally proved insufficient to meet the needs of the organization and the next place selected was in the Schenk building on Market street. It was from these quarters that the remarkable building campaign was conducted, with Mrs. Alexander Young as financial chairman from April 15 to25 in l912.

The far reaching effects of that great effort will go on and on into the future. Hundreds of women unknown now, perhaps not born, will be enrolled as Y. W. C. A. workers and "carry on" as are doing the women of today. The handsome structure which is the administration building and residence hall of the Y. W. C. A. stands as a monument to the foresight of the generous people who gave so liberally that it might be a reality.


Throughout all the splendid accomplishments there has been at the helm of government Mrs. Robert J. Reed, Mrs. Harry Bond, Mrs. Fred Faris, Mrs. Dowler and Mrs. Ebers. Certainly the accomplishments of the Y. W. C. A. in Wheeling reflect great credit to them.

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